Reconstruction by painter Odoardo Ferretti of the statuary groups found in the Portonaccio sanctuary. Photographic archive, ETRU National Etruscan Museum.
Stories from Greek Mythology
The acroteria illustrate stories derived from Greek myth. The statue of Apollo along with that of Herakles (Hercules) formed a group representing the contest between the god and hero for possession of the Ceryneian hind, sacred to Artemis (sister of Apollo), with its golden antlers.
The master sculptor that created the statues is identified with the “coroplastic expert from Veii” mentioned in ancient sources. From him Tarquinius Superbus commissioned the quadriga that crowned the peak of the pediment of the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. The Portonaccio group is without doubt the best example of the work produced by the famed workshop established by Vulca, the master craftsman summoned to Rome by Tarquinius Priscus around 580 BCE to create the cult image (simulacrum) of Jupiter Capitolinus for the aforementioned temple.